I’ve spent this week travelling the world with the girls on the back of a book and I’ve collated boards from around the world on Pinterest that you can look through – with half term coming up there’s plenty in there to help build a project for the holidays. Throughout the week I’ve been reading with the girls and posting links on Facebook and there are two clear winners for the week. Here, the girls loved reading Lin Yi’s Lantern. On Facebook, time and time again one book was getting all the attention: The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales. So sit back for a little Zen time and a closer look at two books that bring a few of life’s lessons to you.
The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales has caught a lot of eyes over the past week on my Facebook page, partly on the subject matter, and partly on the gorgeous artwork! Published in 1997, the artwork is by Marie Cameron – you can find out more about her on her website www.mariecameronstudio.com. The stories themselves are retold by Sherab Chödzin and Alexandra Kohn, a respected Buddhist teacher and his daughter! The book introduces itself with a foreward which gives a little history of Buddhism and the background of each of the stories. The stories come from several Buddhist Cultures, so you will find lessons from Tibet, China and Japan.
Between each of the longer stories you will find a shorter Zen anecdote, which makes the book excellent to dip in and out of. And let’s face it, sometimes when we need some Zen, we only have the patience to read a short piece! I find the anecdotes delicious little insights into changing the way you think towards a more mindful way of living, my favourite being ‘The Most Important Thing’.
The longer stories fascinate me as they are like versions of European fairytales and I’ve had an interest in fairytales for many years. Fairytales tell us so much about the values and fears of a culture, and I really enjoyed reading tales from a culture prized for it’s wisdom. I would recommend reading ‘The Foolish Boy’ for it’s humour and insights into how sometimes the simplest view of the world is often the cleverest.
Ages 6-11 (and grown-ups!)
Lin Yi’s Lantern has been Abigail’s pick of books from around the world this week. Lin Yi is a young boy who is sent to the market by his mother to buy a list of food for the moon festival. He is desperate for a red rabbit lantern (please practice saying this slowly, it’s a bit of a tongue twister!), so his mother tells him that if he bargains well then he can use what he has left to buy a lantern. We couldn’t help thinking that this was a lot of responsibility for a young boy! Off he goes to market, and bargains with the stallholders to buy his list (which he keeps reciting so he does not forget). But along the way there is much temptation… stallholders tempt him with sweets, or the fear that what he wants will not be there when he comes back later. Lin Yi shows a LOT of resolve. When I asked Abigail if she thought that she could resist the temptation, she wasn’t so sure!
When it gets to the end, Lin Yi does not have enough left to buy his lantern and he heads home. His mother praises him for the good job he has done bargaining at the market, and asks if he did not get the lantern for himself. Lin Yi tries not to cry and wants to hide his disappointment – but it has not gone unnoticed that Lin Yi put others wants before his own. Someone special saves the day and Lin Yi goes to the festival with his lantern after all!
After you have read the story, you can find more about the Moon Fairy, and market life in China – a great springboard for some more research, and perhaps some food tasting! There are also instructions that show you how to make your own Chinese paper lantern.
Age range: 5-9 years.
To buy these titles, just visit http://jakki-hanlon.barefootbooks.com/
Have you read either of these books? I’d love to know what you thought – just leave a comment below!